Customers Stand Up for Office 2010

REDMOND, Wash., June 15, 2010 — Meet Melissa Hanson – a mom, activist, and Office 2010 user on a mission.

Hanson runs the Säjai® Foundation, a national nonprofit focused on fighting childhood obesity. In addition to teaching her three sons how to lead healthy lifestyles, she travels around the country, encouraging schools and local organizations to implement health and wellness programs for kids. Her goal: get kids playing outside and making healthy eating choices.

In February Hanson was scheduled to give talks in Rhode Island and Florida, but an injured back kept her home in Minnesota. With help from Office 2010, though, she was still able to deliver the presentations despite being stuck on the couch.

Hanson used new features in PowerPoint to record her presentation and embed it right into the slideshow. She e-mailed it to the east coast and managed to deliver a talk – which scored well with her audience, she proudly noted – all without leaving the couch.

“It was huge because I had people counting on me to be there presenting and educating them,” Hanson says. “PowerPoint was a lifesaver for me because I like to be able to fulfill my commitments.”

Office 2010 has helped Hanson run the Säjai Foundation for nearly a year. She’s sharing her experience with the product as part of Microsoft’s Make It Great campaign, which features real customers using Office 2010 and how it fits seamlessly into their school, work and home lives. Starting today, Microsoft will be making a major online push with the campaign to reach millions of consumers.

Chris Capossela, senior vice president of the Information Worker Product Management Group, says that real customers helped build Office 2010 – the beta program had more than 9 million downloads – and they will be just as important to marketing the product.

Melissa Hanson, who runs a national nonprofit, says Office 2010 has helped her stay on top of e-mail, build richer presentations and collaborate more effectively with her colleagues.

“We know that it’s far more impactful when a real customer stands up and talks about our products in a real, enthusiastic way,” he says. “We’re trying to capture the massive enthusiasm that our install base has for Office and use that as a way to talk about Office 2010.”

Several of the campaign’s real customers are joining Capossela in New York City today for the official launch of Office 2010. One of them is Aaress Lawless, owner of the popular women’s tennis site On the Baseline.

When Lawless heard that Microsoft was looking for people to try out Office 2010 and share their experiences, she jumped at the opportunity. The impact on her site was immediate. “Office 2010 has completely changed the way we work,” she says.

Her favorite app in the updated Office: OneNote. She had never used it before and was only dimly aware of its existence. Then she tried it. “It was love at first sight,” Lawless says. OneNote quickly became her “virtual brain” and was the repository for all notes, plans and musings. Before, she would leave paper and Post-It Notes with her scribbled notes scattered about her office. Now, everything she needs is organized and easily accessible. “If it isn’t in OneNote, it isn’t important,” she says.

Aaress Lawless owns a popular women’s tennis site and loves OneNote, which she was only vaguely aware of before; now it’s her “virtual brain.”

One of Lawless’s favorite features is the new Backstage View, which enables users to print, save and share any Office document from one screen. “I think that’s worth the price of Office alone right there,” she says.

Meanwhile, Hanson will also join today’s launch festivities. Hanson has been an Office user for years; she was one of the first users of Excel as a student at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois. “I actually lived in a ‘dorm of the future’ way back when,” she reminisces. Her dorm was the first and only to have a computer in each room, meaning she didn’t need to stand in line at the computer lab. “Since then, I’ve always tried to see how technology can be a tool to help me express my ideas in a bigger way.”

Hanson says that Office 2010 has helped her stay on top of e-mail, build richer presentations and collaborate more effectively with the three other employees at the Säjai Foundation. “Like all nonprofits, we face a tight budget, and we’re always looking for the best ways to be as efficient and effective with our time and resources. Office 2010 has been a huge asset to me.”

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